I used to chant that when I was younger any time I was being teased or bullied, or one of my brother’s was being, well, brotherly. It is something we most often associate with childhood and children.
Lately, it has appeared in my adult life and in particular, my business life. I have found myself quite regularly reciting this saying in my head while dealing with some sort of conflict or another.
Naive as I am, I really truly believed that even in business, people would be nice, respectful, kind to one another. I knew there would be conflict, such is the nature of life. However, I never really thought that maliciousness and down right dirty play would be found within a business community, especially a business community that specifically deals with social change and nonprofit. But, it does…
This year, in particular, I have had a few experiences that have left a sour taste in my mouth and have me reflecting on if I could have done anything differently and why I ended up in the situations I did. And naturally, wanting to ensure I would not repeat myself.
My first a-ha moment came when I asked on my Facebook page how do you weed the good ones from the not so good ones. Vanessa LeBourdais from DreamRider Theatre eloquently answered, ‘intuition’.
Eileen Caddy says "cease trying to work everything out in your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be Revelation."
I have to admit, looking back, my intuition was definitely telling me something was not quite right, or to pay attention, do more investigation. But in typical martyrdom, something most social entrepreneurs suffer from, I ran right into the situation full steam.
The other thing I realize is that ego plays such a part of our lives and even more so in business. Darren L. Johnson, coach and author of Letting Go of Stuff, says "anytime there is a struggle between doing what is actually right and doing what seems right, then your ego is interfering with your decision.” Wow, how true is that? I have experienced this myself a lot and can now keep check when I am doubting what ‘seems’ right versus what is ‘actually’ right.
According to Evan Carmichael, a business analyst, “53% of business people estimate ego costs their company 6 to 15 percent. 20% of business people say this cost ranges from 16 to 20 percent.” The costs of ego are high.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly we need ego and I see in my thirteen year old son a healthy dose of ego that propels him to achieve academically and in sports.
Evan has three keys to developing a balanced ego and I agree completely and have even been using one of the terms, humility, with my children to keep their egos in check.
The third and last thing that will help me and it is something that again, came from the wisdom of Vanessa, is forgiveness. That though conflicts may arise, intuition may be muted, egos may lack humility, in the end, forgiveness reigns. It is a pivotal moment when you can forgive someone who has wronged you, real or perceived. It is definitely something I am not perfect at and probably the most difficult part of my own journey, yet, recognize it is there and exists for purpose.
So while sticks and stones may break my bones and words can never hurt me, they do…and they will. And I will try and keep the words of William Wordsworth in mind as I move along this journey, "faith is a passionate intuition". Or for you other 80’s people, the words of George Michaels may resonate, “you just got to have faith, faith, faith”.
I have faith that through listening to my intuition, keeping my own ego in check and learning forgiveness, life will be far more satisfying and successful both personally and professionally.